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Diamond Creek
Diamond Peak





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Mt. Rose

Nevada Ski Area Guide -- Very Complete

  • Diamond Peak, Lake Tahoe • 655 skiable acres on 1840' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 8540'; Base elevation: 6700'. 6 Lifts: 3 quads, 3 doubles. Uphill capacity: 7900/hr. Terrain Mix: 18-46-36. Longest Run: 13,200'. Season: usually mid-December to mid-April. Lessons & Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 300". Snowmaking: 75%.
    The SKInny: Although Diamond Peak has the 4th longest vertical, it ranks way down the scale in terms of crowds and traffic, which is always a plus. You could probably call this a "family" atmosphere. Snowflake Lodge at mid-mountain is always a hit. Hotshots will want to show off on the California side, and wanderers will be spoiled by the sizable resorts on the other side of the Lake. Truth is, if this were the only ski resort in the Lake Tahoe area, Diamond Peak would be one of the top ski destinations in the world. A great ski area overshadowed by its neighbors.
    Signature Trails: Ridge Run, Solitude Canyon.


  • Elko Snobowl, Elko • 100 skiable acres on 700' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 6900'; Base elevation: 6200'. 2 Lifts: 1 double, 1 ropetow. Uphill capacity: 1000/hr. Terrain Mix: 33-34-33. Season: usually late November to late March. Open Fri-Sat-Sun plus holidays. Lessons available through the Ski Club. Snowmaking.
    The SKInny: Elko Snobowl is a great little area that appears to be operated by the Elko Chamber of Commerce (at least that's where you buy tickets). It's a wide-open bowl with a full range of skiing terrain. Prices are cheap; highest ticket is $15. Beginners can use the rope tow at no charge (as of this writing). A shuttle bus brings the kids from town. More communities should follow Elko's lead and operate ski areas, even though few would be able to manage one of this size and stature. If you're in the area, stop by and make a few runs.

  • Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, Lee Canyon • 40 skiable acres on 1000' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 9500'; Base elevation: 8500'. 3 double chairs. Uphill capacity: 2500/hr. Terrain Mix: 20-60-20. Longest Run: 3,000'. Season: usually late November to early April. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 120". Snowmaking: 75%.
    The SKInny: Truly a "southwest" type ski area, kind of a junior Mt. Lemmon if that helps. Uncrowded, reasonably priced, plenty of decent snow. Only negative is that it really doesn't have a lot to offer the novice or "developing" skier; fairly big leap from bunny hill to main hill. Hotshots and wanderers will not be overly thrilled, but hey, where else you gonna ski in Las Vegas?
    Signature Trail: Keno.


  • Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Reno • 900 skiable acres on 1800' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 9700'; Base elevation: 7900'. 7 Lifts: 2 sixpacks, 2 quads, 2 triples, 1 magic carpet. Uphill capacity: 13,400/hr. Terrain Mix: 20-30-50. Longest Run: 12,500'. Season: usually late November to mid April. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 400". Snowmaking: 28%.
    The SKInny: Newly lengthened vertical, new sixpacks, new loading stations, new, new, new. I guess this may bring larger crowds, but I think the uphill capacity can handle it without even slightly taxing the equipment. This has always been an outstanding ski area, now even better by all the improvements over the past few years. Maybe the only reason it doesn't get as crowded as neighboring resorts is the brutal wind, but that's the only downer we know of. Lots of room to explore; plenty of hot drops for hotshots.
    Signature Trail: Central Pacific to Slide Bowl.


  • Ruby Mt. Helicopter Skiing, Lamoille • unknown skiable acres on 5200' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 11200'; 0 Lifts: Heli-skiing; a minimum vertical uplift is guaranteed with package. Terrain Mix: 0-0-100. Longest Run: 12,500'. Season: usually January to mid April. Rentals; no lessons.
    The SKInny: Operating for close to three decades, this is one of the better-known, more respected heli outfits. First-class all the way.


  • Lake Tahoe Ski Tours As a born Easterner, I was always envious of friends who would take trips "out west" to ski. Through college I could never understand where they came up with the money for airfare, room, and lift tickets. And after college, they were still making the ski trips -- and I wasn't -- despite the fact that I made twice as much money. They kept telling me "package tour" and "package deal" and all that stuff. Now I thoroughly despise group tours, so I dismissed it as some ski club deal, until somebody finally got it through my head that it was a package deal, not a group package. These were mainly through Aspen Ski Tours, who you now know as Ski.com. They've been putting packages together for over 30 years, and I don't care how hard you dig for airfare, or how cheap you work the motel, you just can't beat the deals they put together. Air, hotel, transfers, tickets...unbelievable...and unbeatable. If you are looking for a trip to Lake Tahoe, or any western destination for that matter (including Whistler or Alyeska) you ought to click it and check it out. It's the only one I'll use.

Best all-around Skiing Guide for Women...

Mom has a pretty raw deal on the average ski trip. They're expected to make sure every child is geared up and ready to go...settle the arguments, feed the family, prepare the snacks, pack the chapstick, and so on...and then ski the black diamonds with dad after the second lesson.

Sound familiar?

The book, Skiing: A Woman's Guide by Maggie Loring and Molly Mulhern Gross ought to be mandatory reading for every ski mom. It not only provides the basics for managing the gang, it also gives a step-by-step instructional guide from a woman's point-of-view. This link is to amazon.com, where you can usually pick up a used copy for about two bucks. Mom, it's the best two bucks you'll spend all winter.

Key

Hotshots are skiers who can ski anywhere, anytime, in any conditions, and generally enjoy showing off those skills. Wanderers are skiers who like to go exploring, to essentially get "lost" and move from face to face, seldom skiing the same trail twice. Newbies are the girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband who has never skied before, but gamely insists on going along. Obviously, Blues represents intermediate skiers, while Blacks refers to experts.

A note about ski area statistics: Although it's hard to believe, some ski areas are (gasp!) less than truthful with their numbers. Like the guy who lies about his, uh, shoe size, some ski areas believe that inflated numbers make their resort sound more appealling. When these numbers are obviously questionable, we put a note: (?!) and will attempt to verify the legitimacy of the claim.

A Signature Trail Is mostly subjective. Whether it's history, reputation, the view, or degree of difficulty...it's the run you have to do, even if it isn't necessarily the best the resort has to offer. If a ski area calls a trail by two names (one at the top, and another at the bottom) in an effort to claim more trails, we go by the upper name. If a trail is called "Upper Whatever" and "Lower Whatever," we simply list it as "Whatever" in this index.

More

Use this to get Lift Tickets at Discount: There is a "clearinghouse" of sorts that many ski areas use to raise cash by selling discount tickets in advance, called Liftopia . If you haven't used this service, it is usually best to know for certain that you are going on a specific date. The deeply discounted tickets must be purchased in advance; generally up to two days out. The sticking point is that some ski resorts only make a limited number of tickets available to Liftopia for any given day, so they might be sold out if you wait too long...so, as soon as you are absolutely, positively sure that you will be skiing on a certain day, click this link to get deeply discounted tickets . I've used this service many times, usually when I am absolutely certain I will be skiing on a specific date. Some resorts offer "flex" tickets with which you can specify the date, and some have a few different tiers of pricing. In other words, you might be able to get a lift ticket that can be used on different days, but you'll pay a little more for that privilege. You need to have access to a printer to print out your receipt, and you have to take identification with you to the mountain. I've knocked a third off -- even half off -- the price of some tickets. Not every area participates, but it's well worth checking before you head to the slopes.

A tiny portion of your Liftopia purchase helps fund this website, at no added cost.

If the ski resort business interests you, I strongly recommend a book by Hal Clifford called Downhill Slide: Why the Corporate Ski Industry is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment. It provides an inside look at the marketing logic behind clocktower villages, and the dubious practices of the US Forest Service that enables these resorts to be built. Fascinating reading.

Ski Movies for Mere Mortals

Did you ever feel like those big money ski movies are often a big let-down? You get all pumped up for the new release from some ski film company, and it's mostly incredible footage of guys jumping out of helicopters and shredding down some un-named mountain on the far side of the globe. They're neck deep in powder, skiing lines that you'll never, ever see. If you want ski movies you could actually relate to, a bunch of guys called The Meatheads, from Burlington, VT have made a series of "Ski The East" films. They film at real resorts like Sugarloaf, Blue Mountain, Big Boulder, Mount Snow, Ski Sundown, Stowe, Jay, Mountain Creek, Killington, Sunday River...urban locations ranging from Virginia to Quebec...mogul skiing with The Hammer and Radio Ron...and backcountry throughout New York, New England, and the Chic Chocs. It's simply fantastic -- and since it's the same terrain we can get to, it's inspirational!

Their most popular current release is No Matter What , which received the ski equivalent of an Oscar for the Jay Peak powder segment, filmed during 2012 of all things. One that is probably their best is from a year ago, called Prime Cut . Another favorite is Wanderland: An East Coast Ski Thriller. All Meatheads DVDs have hours of "bonus" footage, so it's like getting three ski movies for the price of one. The links go to Amazon.com, which enables you to order and return if you don't like them. And a small percentage of the sale helps us pay the expenses of this website, at no extra cost to you.

Here's a preview, courtesy Youtube...




Masthead photo Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort courtesy Kim & Forest Starr/Creative Commons